Some members of the far-right Jewish Defense League (JDL) brutally attacked a group of American-Jewish activists from IfNotNow — a progressive American Jewish group opposing the Israeli occupation of Palestine — along with a Palestinian-American teacher, outside the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference.
Kamal Nayfeh, who teaches at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC, was visiting his daughter Danya, a student at Georgetown University in Washington. He walked by the protest when he was attacked viciously with kicks and punches.
Violent men and women wearing shirts and carrying flags bearing the sign of JDL, a radical organization, bashed the 55-year-old with flag poles, leaving him bruised and bloodied.
The JDL affiliates “punched and kicked him and hit him in the face with flag poles, leaving him with cuts and bruises all over his face and body,” said the Institute for Middle East Understanding in a statement.
The Palestinian-American man was rushed to the hospital and received 18 stitches around his eye.
Two members of JDL, which was once declared as a terrorist organization, were eventually arrested but neithers was charged with a hate crime.
According to the IMEU, “One was charged with a misdemeanor and another with felony assault. They have not been charged with a hate crime.”
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the FBI designated JDI as “a right-wing terrorist group” in a 2000-01 report.
Danya, Nayfeh’s daughter, later released a statement asking why the authorities did not charge the assailants with hate crimes.
“When I heard the screams and found out my father was being beaten nearby, I was horrified. I ran to him as quickly as I could,” she said. “He appeared stunned and his eye looked awful, all swollen and cut up. They beat him after they heard he was Palestinian. He was not threatening at all, it’s perfectly clear that my father was brutalized simply because of who he is.”
Danya claimed the police took a long time to detain the perpetrators despite the fact that they assaulted her father in front of several witnesses.
“The perpetrators were left to freely walk around for a while before being detained. I had to ask the police to take action,” she continued. “I know they could have done more to keep everyone safe from this group, and I don’t know why this wasn’t treated as a hate crime. Our entire family is shaken by this incident. Communities can’t feel safe and secure when the JDL and other hate groups are emboldened by this new hateful atmosphere we’re living in.”
In another video, activists from IfNotNow can also be seen being assaulted.
They were outside AIPAC protesting the atrocities committed by the Israeli government against Palestinians when the JDL disrupted them.